Students taught life skills through Junior Achievement program

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It may be a cliché, but it is never too early to start planning for the future.

Sixth grade students at Rapid City South and West Middle Schools spent Tuesday learning about the economy as part of Junior Achievement (JA) of South Dakota. The Economics for Success program provides practical information about personal finance and helps identify educational and career goals based on a student's skills, interests and values.

"These kids will start to use this today,” said Malcom Chapman, volunteer with Junior Achievement of South Dakota. “They’ll start to use it this afternoon. They don't have to wait til they're out of middle school or out of high school. They’ll start to put in place some of these things as early as today."

One the goals of JA is for students to have further conversations about these topics with their peers and parents.

"We hope that they go home and if they have questions, ask their parents,” said Katie Cook, the board chair of Rapid City Junior Achievement. “Your parents are going to have a completely different point of view than one of our volunteers might, but the goal is to get the dialogue started. To let them start to think, 'Wow, I didn't even know that was out there … What do I need to do to get there?' That’s exactly what we want to do, is just team up with the school and parents and try to make sure that our kids are prepared when they're ready to go off to college or whatever they decide to do."

Junior Achievement of South Dakota is involved with approximately 30 schools across the state and are currently working with second, fourth and sixth graders and high-school level students in the Rapid City area. The JA Economics for Success program involved about 500 sixth graders this year.

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